One thing that has really been obvious in the last few months is the “living testimony” of Carol and her impact on people’s lives. I am posting here two notes from people who wrote me when they heard of Carol’s passing…
From a sister in Christ who heard Carol speak at another Calvary Chapel…
Dear pastor Brian,
I had the privilege of meeting your wife Carol when I was living in **** and she spoke at a Christmas Tea. I recall her speaking on “light” and clearly remember her asking us to imagine how glorious that light would be when we met our Savior face to face. That one moment in her message was filled with such joy that I will never forget it. She greatly encouraged me in that hope and assurance He gives us.
From another sister who had only met Carol face to face once…I met her at Carol’s memorial service in our home town…she asked me to make this anonymous, taking out the names so that only the Lord would get the attention and glory.
Hey there Pastor Brian,
I know today was probably incredibly busy for you and I know that you spoke with a lot of people of people, so I don’t expect you to remember the short conversation that passed between us before I had to run off, but I promised that I would email you about the impact that Carol has had on my life and so I decided to fulfill that promise before my memory made off with the ability to remember that promise. I suppose you could say that the way Carol had an impact on me was a little different than most; it wasn’t just her life that was an impact on me, but also her death. Let me explain..
I believe I actually met you and Carol a long time ago at one of the get-together’s that **** would put on at ***** home in Riverside, and a couple of years ago she also helped me with some travel arrangements when I went with **** around the states and then to ****. This was the extent of my knowing her in life.
About six months ago, I was on my way to **** on a one way ticket, but as things usually go, I was really struggling before-hand with some temptations that satan had placed before me. (bear with me, I promise I’m getting somewhere with this) It was quite a battle and sadly, it was lost when I chose to fulfill those temptations and totally and completely walked away from the Lord. In a short matter of time I had immersed myself in the world, getting deeper and deeper into a life of sin, continuing on with it because I partly enjoyed it and partly felt chained to it (probably more chained to it than anything though). I pretended everything was okay on the outside, sugar-coating the truth for everyone around me and pushing friends and family further and further away as the struggle in me grew and consumed me. Not too long ago, the Lord really hit me hard with conviction–once you have known the goodness of God, it is truly hard to forget it–and try as I could to put it aside, I just couldn’t. The Lord was ripening and humbling my heart for a harvest that only He in His mercy could produce. Almost two weeks ago, I was getting ready to move to **** to live with my boyfriend (who wasn’t a Christian)… I happened to see **** online one evening and so I talked with her and somehow the conversation turned to Carol, she mentioned that her memorial was coming up and it was then that she asked me to go as her representative, I said sure and didn’t think much of it.
Next day after we talked, **** sent me the link to the little biography you wrote about Carol (the one that was read at the service) and so I clicked on it and read through it maybe humm…. three or four times? It was through reading about Carol’s life and death, and seeing the way that she was remembered, the legacy that the Lord had left through her that the He brought me to my knees in tearful repentance. I broke up with my boyfriend that day, got back into the Word, went back to church, and began to humbly seek the Lord and His will with a new sense of His grace, mercy, and love.
The legacy of Carol brought me back to Jesus and left me wanting nothing more than Him. Seeing her love for her Lord that was so powerful that it kept shining even after she was gone, made me want to seek Him all the more and press on knowing that that kind of love was even possible. I can’t even tell you how grateful I am, how much in love with my Lord that I am, how very much I want to serve Him with all that I have. This is the result of God using Carol in both life and death, I praise God that she made herself so readily available in both.
So there you have it, that is the impact she had on my life. I pray that it blesses you and that as time goes on that our precious Lord will continue to heal the sadness of her being gone and overflow you with His perfect peace and joy in the firm factor of Who He is, and that you will continue to serve Him as you already are.
“My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. You are fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured upon Your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.” — Psalm 45:1-2
Now for me, the first thing that comes to my mind is; what will my testimony be after I’m gone? I can tell you that Carol never would have assumed that people would say things like this about her after her departure, but here it is. And these are only two of the letters I’ve received. I guess my point here is to mind your life. When you are gone people will talk about you and the impact you had on their lives. What will that impact be? (“Brian? Oh yea, well he was okay, kind of funny, I guess he was religious.”) Maybe we ought to think of this today and determine what kind of testimony we want to have after we’re gone.